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Patatap Turns QWERTY Into A Real-Time Instrument

This portable audio-visual kit allows you to make synesthetic art from the comfort of your laptop.

Above, an early rendering of Patatap. 

While this isn’t the first time we’ve covered a project by Google Creative Lab’s Data Arts Team member Jono Brandel, this one may set a new watermark. Patatap, a portable animation and sound kit, is distinct in its own right, but it follows the same ethos as Brandel’s previous website interfaces.

His ongoing fascination with synesthesia—the phenomenon in which one sense’s stimulation produces another experience in a completely different sense—holds influence now just as it did when he created a real-time music visualizer, or invited users with basic coding knowledge to create their own animated typefaces.


But with Patatap, he’s blended the basic components of these other projects to create one of the coolest, sleekest, most addicting websites we've seen recently.

Brandel on what it is and how it works:

“Its a portable animation and sound kit. With the touch of a finger create melodies charged with moving shapes. While easy to pick up there is a wide range of possibilities. Switch between multiple color palettes and matching soundscapes on the fly. Whether its on your laptop, desktop, mobile phone, or tablet Patatap invites creators of all ages to engage the mind and senses in a different type of creation process.”

QWERTY has finally become a real-time (really real-time—there’s remarkably little delay between keystroke and melody), customizable audio-visual instrument.

More early renderings of Patatap.

But he didn’t brew it up on his own. Brandel worked with Lullatone, a Japanese duo who specialize in film and commercial scores, to design Patatap’s mesmerizing tones and sequences. “They created compelling sounds to accompany the animations,” says Brandel. “Each color palette has a unique corpus of sounds. Each set comprises sounds that enable a full-bodied composition both in terms of sound and visuals. These sounds are geared toward making tapping as melodic as possible, similar to a keyboard of drum pads. The result is a visceral and rewarding experience.”

As if you needed another reason to never get off the internet.

Follow Johnny Magdaleno on Twitter: @johnny_mgdlno